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February 7, 2008
CPAC Welcomes John McCain
Just what kind of welcome may be the story of the year.
John McCain, whose Super Tuesday performance has given him an aura of inevitability in the eyes of many Republican leaders, has begun an aggressive campaign to quell conservative dissent and prevent an outbreak of GOP buyer's remorse. McCain is a savvy pol and will make all the right noises to assuage the anger conservatives have over his candidacy. The question is one of sincerity. Will conservatives believe him?
The campaign, as described by Republican sources, has two pillars: outreach to talk-radio hosts and other conservative critics and a succession of high-profile endorsements in the coming days.
The effort to win over, or at least blunt the opposition, of talk-radio hosts and other movement figures who resent McCain's maverick style and past departures from conservative orthodoxy involves both high-level surrogates and the candidate himself. Its targets include the most influential talk-radio voice, Rush Limbaugh, who has been contacted in recent days by a McCain emissary, according to Republican sources.
For some, there will be no detente with the Arizona senator. For others, like talk show host and blogger Hugh Hewitt , there is the realistic acceptance of McCain as the Republican party nominee. And for still others like Michelle Malkin , there is the belief that rather than getting depressed, conservatives should rally and redouble their efforts to elect Congressmen and Senators that reflect their views.
One thing is clear; McCain has his work cut out for him today at CPAC.